Isaiah 2: 4, 5
4He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
5O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the LORD!
I was at University when Britain engaged in the Falkland Island conflict. Of course I didn’t want it to happen, but I found the whole thing rather exciting and as it was on, I did rather want to be part of it rather than stuck in a university library wrestling with differential equations. This was something my atheist housemate found rather shocking. I did not really want to beat my ploughshare into a sword but I would have liked to have got it out of the shed!
How would I be judged by God? Well interestingly it seems that according to this short passage from Isaiah, God is not judging the rights and wrongs of aggressive military action. In verse 4 he is not judging the nations, he is judging between the nations. He is judging between them so that they don’t have to manufacture spears because the LORD will have already defused the crisis. How do we get to this enviable situation? It’s by answering the rallying cry in verse 5, ‘O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!’
Once again we have the unilateral claim that it is only when people come back to God that we are going to have a better, fairer, more stable and peaceable society. It is only when people come back to God that we have the hope of the earth becoming more like the Kingdom of heaven. Isaiah is saying that, try as we might, we cannot do this on our own without the LORD. There is no alternative way. There is no plan B for those who do not want to give up their personal autonomy, who consider their own happiness as paramount rather than the good of society.
We can draw parallels with this and where we are at the moment, for instance, with the role out of the vaccine in this country and worldwide. We all know academically that we are not well protected as a species until the world is protected. We all know academically that it is good to be compassionate and generous. It is not hard for us to see how the LORD would disburse the vaccine if he were in charge. But few of us would agree to that if it meant our elderly relative in a care home was going to have to wait another 6 months before they were inoculated.
Perhaps it is good for us to pray that you and I would ‘walk in the light of the Lord’, just as much as society in general!
If there is righteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
So let it be.
I stumbled across this when I was looking for a version of Walk in the Light. It will either make you smile or snarl!
Walk In The Light (The Spirit Lives To Set Us Free) – YouTube